The Teaching and Learning Center’s workshops are constructed as spaces for sharing and discovery, and are open to educators from across the CUNY system, from every discipline, and with varying levels of teaching experience. They are designed by TLC staff–all experienced educators–who work collaboratively to design opportunities for our colleagues to think more deeply about teaching and learning, and to engage with practical, immediately-applicable ideas.
The TLC’s workshops this semester are organized loosely around four concepts that integrate the research and pedagogical interests of TLC staff with the needs we have perceived in our work supporting graduate student instructors at the GC. In August, we ran a week-long Teach@CUNY Summer Institute for sixty first-time Graduate Teaching Fellows, and the feedback they provided through surveys and conversation have helped us select the categories below.
Aesthetics: the work we and our students do in our classrooms has an aesthetic quality, but we too rarely think about it as a component of our pedagogy. Aesthetic qualities are not limited only to visual and aural modes of communication, but are also components our textual interactions with students, the materials and websites we build and distribute to our students, the way we structure our classrooms, and more. TLC workshops this semester will explicitly consider the role of aesthetics in our teaching.
Mindfulness: mindful pedagogy encourages contemplative teaching that emphasizes openness, reflection, and liberatory practices in the design and experiences of our classrooms. We will consider how to translate the mindful practices of embodiment, affect, and awareness in our pedagogies. These strategies are valued across TLC programming, and in our workshops this semester we will focus especially on how educators might enhance their capacity for such work.
Community: our classes have a more sustained impact when our students feel a part of a community of learners that they are actively co-constructing with us. We will explore the kind of work it takes and the challenges to build and organize meaningful communities in our classrooms. Workshops this semester will offer reflective and practical guidance for developing this sense of collective purpose and experience through the activities, assignments and strategies we use.
Planning: teaching takes preparation, and effective preparation benefits from experience and reflection. Successful courses require both a clear sense of what your teaching and learning goals are as well as the willingness and capacity to adjust your strategies on the fly. In workshops this semester we will think through how best to refine and improve what’s happening in our classes.
All TLC workshops are two hours in length, and offer the opportunity to both theorize a set of problems and to develop practical take-aways in dialogue with other committed educators. Workshops regularly complement and connect directly with other TLC programming such as our focused inquiry groups (FIGs), Visible Pedagogy blog, and other special programs and projects. You can register for TLC workshops at http://cuny.is/tlc-registration, and descriptions will be posted to this space and distributed to the CUNY community a week before each event. Hope to see you there!